Category Archives: 25 by 25

The Clock is Up

It’s Monday morning at 6:45 AM and I’m in the middle of putting on my makeup when I realize that it’s the day before my birthday and somehow, I’ve managed to spend a year procrastinating on learning how to do a proper Smokey Eye.

So I flip the eyeshadow compact over, read the instructions, look at an illustration on the back of a separate compact and get going.  Since rebus-illustrations, generally speaking, are the first thing you should go to when you’re searching for directions.

Because it’s always a good idea to try a “new” look before you go to work.  It lets people know you’re a professional.  And stuff.

As it turns out, I ended up liking it so much that I wore it to work again yesterday.   And tested the waters with some new colors today.

Procrastination: It gets things done.

25 by 25.  It’s over now.  The clock is up.  How did I do?

It was a year of the planned-for and the totally unplanned.

Things I failed miserably at: Going to museums.  DIY-ing (even though we did hang a mirror).  Using our china.  Repairing purses.  Buying jewelry.  Learning how to French Press.

But Marcus and I got to go out to a lot of different places.  I ran.  I volunteered at the food shelf.  I learned that I hated pilates (too much flapping).  I became a practiced pie crust-maker.  I took up the art of moisturizing.  We sort of peripherally visited Chicago.

And for the love of all things right and good, I finally managed to master the fine art of The Smokey Eye.

Do you set birthday goals?

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25 by 25…a Progress Report

It’s been over a month since the last time I  addressed the issue of my 25 by 25.  It hasn’t fallen by the wayside.

I’ve just been…getting it done.

#6 – Learn how to make a pie crust from scratch

Pie week.  The recipe made two crusts.  Enough said.

#18 – Visit at least one new restaurant in the Twin Cities every month

Truth: The Entertainment Book  (we’ve officially pushed over the break-even mark!) and our need for cheap dates and adventures has really paid off.  When we bought it, I had no idea that it would help with this part of the project as much as it has.

October: The Red Sea

November: Las Teresitas, La Belle Vie, The Red Stag, Pineda Tacos

December: Donnie Dirk’s Zombie Den, Crescent Moon Bakery

#20 – Come up with some sort of skincare habit to replace my completely non-existent routine

I have not mastered this one by any means, but I will confess to doing some daily moisturizing.  This December air has brought my face to a place that is so far beyond dry, I don’t even know how to deal.  So when I’m blowing-out my hair, I do a bit of moisturizing.  Because otherwise pressed powder just looks like a horror show.

All together now: Do Not Want.

My projects for next month: What I really want to work on is knocking off a couple of recipes from the cookbooks we received for our wedding.  Even though I cooked a TON since our last check-in, using those books was something I failed epically at.

The Current List as it Stands

  1. Finish a marathon
  2. Take-up Pilates (ongoing)
  3. Go to the Bakken Museum
  4. Go to the Mill City Museum
  5. Learn how to properly arrange flowers (ongoing)
  6. Learn how to make pie crust from scratch
  7. Take a gun safety class
  8. Do five DIY re-decorating/home improvement projects
  9. Correspond (ongoing)
  10. Create and maintain a proper adult address book
  11. Give to the food shelf monthly (ongoing)
  12. Use our china at least one time each season
  13. Learn how to do a proper smokey eye
  14. Source the following cookbooks: Veganomicon, Time for Dinner, How to Roast a Lamb, From Mom with love…
  15. Take a Friday off.  And bake a challah.  From scratch.
  16. Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies when I want them (ongoing)
  17. Complete the process of legally changing my name
  18. Visit one new restaurant in the Twin Cities every month (ongoing)
  19. Make at least one recipe out of each of the cookbooks we got as a wedding gift: pizza, Williams-Sonoma SALAD, Kosher by Design, Kosher by Design Lightens Up, The Wine Lovers Cookbook, Super juicer, The Fearless Baker, MIXT Salads, Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook
  20. Come up with some sort of skin care habit to replace my completely non-existent routine (ongoing)
  21. Visit Chicago
  22. Buy a piece of jewelry for myself
  23. Get my broken/under-used purses cleaned or repaired
  24. Donate old gowns/dresses to those who could actually use them
  25. Learn how to use my French Press

What are the projects you would like to knock-off your to do list before the new year?

p.s. It’s Day Two of Be a Good Cookie Week!  Check out Jeanne’s post.  Hint: She made Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Shortbreads.  And she’s hosting a giveaway!

p.s.s. Double the fun and head on over to enter Kirsten’s giveaway!

7. Take a Gun Safety Class

Preface: This post is about my traumatic (at best) foray into the world of weaponry.  I really don’t “get” the handgun thing.  I don’t think that I ever will.  But if you’re someone who hunts animals, please know that I get that.  It has a purpose.  At the end of the season you end up with a freezer stocked with venison sausage and a jar full of jerky.  This post is not about that kind of thing.

Oh man, kittens.

Gun safety.

Last Christmas, Santa gave Mom, Marcus and I gift certificates for a gun safety class at the local gun shop/shooting range (Dad and Billy are practiced shooters).  Since Christmas 2011 is less than a month away, it was definitely time to use them.

So what better way to use part of a long holiday weekend than to cross another goal off the list?

Mom insisted that we get to the location 15 minutes before it opened to make sure that we would all be on-time.  What that really meant is that we had 15 minutes to survey our fellow range-goers.  That also gave me 15 minutes to think about whether or not I was really comfortable knowing that some of these people were legally able to brandish weapons.

Answer: No.  Not comfortable.

This was also the point in time where I realized that for the price of our class fees, I could have had a very nice Coach purse.

Not okay in my book.

As the store opened, we filed into the entry way and our instructor lead us back to our classroom.  We were greeted by PowerPoint slides, plastic guns, bullet casings and donuts.  There’s probably a bad joke in there somewhere, but I just don’t have time to search for it right now.

At the beginning of the class, we were invited to go around the room and share why we were there.

Most answers were mundane.  But one classmate was a real treasure.

You see, Classmate indicated that he was taking the course so that he could open up a gun shop in Peru.

From there, he asked the instructor about Silencers (super-illegal) which somehow disintegrated into a lecture about the black market (also illegal) and people who smoke bath salts.

I think y’all are quickly coming to realize that this place was just not my scene.

Or as some girlfriends of mine would describe it, these people just were not a part of my tribe.

After that extremely surreal bizarre discussion, our instructor segued into telling us all about how shooting on the range is The Greatest stress reliever and how much fun you can have.

Since I don’t feel that it’s appropriate to pass judgement without offering up alternatives, I made a list of things that I find to be effective stress relievers and things that I find to be fantastically fun.

Behold.

Kat’s Stress Relievers

  • Running
  • Blogging
  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Tanning
  • Head massages
  • Tiffany Blue
  • Being surrounded by sterling silver
  • Laying in bed with my hot pack
  • Dealing with my mitts and paws

Things That Kat Finds to be Fantastically Fun

  • Crossing the finish line of a race
  • Triumphing in the kitchen
  • Drinking champagne
  • Traveling
  • Kissing
  • Finding adorable things in my size on the sale rack
  • Visiting active volcanoes
  • Dealing with my mitts and paws

Handguns?  Not relaxing.  Not fun.  I don’t think that something that is specifically designed to take the life of another should be seen as such.

As we were wrapping up one of our bathroom breaks, I came back into the classroom to find our instructor regaling half the class with an engaging tale about someone who owned 60 (!) guns.

Just wow.

And then That Classmate Who Wants To Open A Peruvian Gun Store made his comeback with some questions about when he could gun people down.  Like…if someone was in his house, would it be okay then?  What if they were taking his TV?  What about if he was driving in a car?  What if someone standing 50 feet away wasn’t far enough away?

Um.

No.

After three hours of this insanity intermingled with lessons about bullets and the parts of a gun, we headed out to the range.

So there we are, on the private range, being serenaded by the hellishly rhythmic blast of someone wielding an automatic weapon in the next range over.  Mom is busy trying to put her target on the clips upside-down (just in-case she is being attacked by someone who is coming at her upside-down) and I can’t even unload the damn gun, much less unlock it to shoot it.

We got in, we got out.

The finished product.

When I think of the things in this one life of mine that I have been Called to do, I am absolutely positive that this is not it.

Have you ever taken a gun safety class?

Despite the fact that it was horrible (or as Mom described it, The Dementor to Her Soul and a -47 on a scale of 1-10), I would say unequivocally that everyone should attend one.  It’s not information that I will ever use again, but it is information that everyone should have.

What do you find to be relaxing/fantastically fun?

25 by 25…a Progress Report

I was trying to figure out when I last gave a progress report on the 25 by 25 and was absolutely horrified to realize that October 6th was like…several weeks ago.

List of people who do not know where this month went: Me.

I don’t know if I made  ton of progress last month or just didn’t really think about this month.  But checking anything off of The List counts and some months are going to be…wilder than others.

Right?  Right.

#11 – Give to the food shelf monthly

For the Yom Kippur food drive, we donated four bags of food.  Yes, it was sort-of meant to be catch-up because we didn’t give anything in September.

But it also had a lot to do with the fact that I’m a manic grocery shopper when I’m shopping just for us.

So shopping for people who don’t have anything?  Brings out a sort of wild streak in me.  I start thinking of all of the things I would need as staple foods/basics to feed a family and they start going into the cart in pairs.

It’s so strange to think that an act that takes so very little of my time and resources can make such a difference to another person.  But that’s what makes this particular goal so important to me.  Something that’s very nearly a mindless activity to one person can change the day/week/month of another.

#16 – Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies when I want them

Ironically, my craving struck while we were in the middle of fasting on Yom Kippur.  But then it occurred to me that it would actually be kind of lovely to break the fast with my favorite cookie of all time.

So in addition to the biscotti and s’more bars, I actioned a batch of these as well.  I used the recipe out of How to Cook Everything and while they were cake-y and wonderful, they did not turn out the way that I was expecting.  Simply put, the consistency was a little bit off.

As a little side-effect of this goal?  Not only will I be baking these cookies whenever the urge strikes, I will also be searching for the perfect recipe.

#18 – Visit at least one new restaurant in the Twin Cities each month.

I was actually fairly impressed with our progress this month, considering the fact that I was out-of-town one weekend (doesn’t count) and two other weekends were monopolized by racing and not eating.

We discovered a lovely Asian take-out restaurant no more than a five-minute drive away in Gion’s.  It was very from-scratch and I suspect that we will be there again much sooner than later.  Especially if one of us comes down with a cold – the kind of stock they use in their wonton soup and pho is of the variety that is fortified with super powers.

I bit the bullet and dragged Marcus to the Sonora Grill at the Midtown Global Market for unplanned date-day.

And finally (it has been 13 years since I first saw it in the Taste section of the Star Tribune) Oceanaire.  We’re going there on Thursday night with Chaz and Katie for Restaurant Week!  I absolutely can’t wait.

When they invited us to come along I just knew it was A Sign.  Especially since I have been craving seafood in an alarming way since the beginning of October.  What a way to tame the beast.

What’s one restaurant that has been on your to-visit list forever?

Do you have a favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe you would be willing to share?

25 by 25…a Progress Report

Since we’re coming up on the one month mark since I embarked on my 25 by 25 adventure, I felt like we were long-overdue for a status-update.

Here’s the rundown…

#1 – Finish a marathon

DONE.

If I can behave myself for the next…eight months then I will be crossing the finish line again on June 16th at Grandma’s.  Honest-to-God I never planned to finish one marathon and have another one planned.  But since the entry fee has been paid and is non-refundable, I might as well Listen To The Universe And Run Another.

Yes, I realize I’ve officially crossed-over and become That Person.

#2 – Take-up Pilates

It still feels like a lot of flapping around, but I finally understand the meaning of The Hundreds, so that’s what I call progress.  Since it worked for Pippa Middleton, I plan on sticking with it until I too end up leggy with an incredible ass.  Vanity is a powerful motivator.

#5 – Learn how to properly arrange flowers

This one is coming along in fits and starts.  For this arrangement, I used the healthy survivors from one of the table arrangements at Galina’s wedding and some of my birthday roses.  I like to think that it worked.  As for methodology, there seems to be some sort of triangular, large versus small thing going on, but I’m still shooting in the dark.

Maybe next month I’ll try to source some reading materials on the topic.  Or maybe I wont.

#9 – Correspond

I can’t say that I’ve become a prolific Dear Abby, in the last month, but I’ve thrown more letters in the post than I would have otherwise.

#10 – Create and maintain a proper adult address book

My myAgenda came with a separate address book, so I got busy in August filling it up with all sorts of addresses that we had to source for the wedding.  My world feels a little more peaceful because of it.

#17 – Complete the process of legally changing my name

I have a Social Security Card and a Driver’s License.  So, we’re good-to-go.  Next stop = a passport and bank accounts.  Fun-fun.

#18 – Visit at least one new restaurant in the Twin Cities each month

September: Sen Yai Sen Lek, Wildfire, The Lowry, Delights of India

October: Keys

#19 – Make at least one recipe out of each of the cookbooks we got as a wedding gift

I made Asparagus Tivoli from Kosher by Design for the second night of Rosh Hashanah.  Game is on.

The dressing was absolutely delicious (we’ll be using it on more vegetables and salads in the future, methinks) and everyone raved about the asparagus.  Considering the minimal amount of prep involved and the simplicity of the ingredients, this will definitely be on our shortlist.

How are your goals coming along?  Which ones do you struggle with?

Week Two of Six

Confession: I thought the transition from running to…not running would be more shocking than it has been.  Mind you, this is only week two of six and I’m still trying to figure out what a life without running (for now) even looks like.

In the spirit of my 25 by 25, I decided that I would take a whack at trying to get on-board with #2 Take-Up Pilates.

You know, since I should be enjoying this stress-free, no-pressure time of fitness.  I thought that if I committed to trying it out for a week, then I would have a better idea of how it “fits” into my life.

Verdict so far?  I have absolutely no idea of whether or not this is going to do anything for my arms.  There seems to be a lot of…flapping involved and instead of feeling sweaty, mostly I feel confused.

But I have become re-acquainted with my hip flexors and have learned a couple of good breathing techniques.  If nothing else, I’m 100% positive that it will help with my yoga technique.  I’ll have to give y’all the full report next Monday.

For a full report in the here and now, say what you will about power walking, but I’ve found that the upside to this arrangement is that I’ve been able to enjoy Really Excellent Post-Workout Hair.

Vanity comes first.

I’ve also been trying to re-embrace Intuitive Eating.  Now that I’m out of training, I don’t need to worry about eating enough, I just need to make sure that I’m eating well.

During the week that’s a pretty simple proposition.  Between work, working out and cooking dinner, I have a routine.  I have time to listen to my body.  I have meals planned out.

There are MANY mugs of tea.

But on the weekend?  All bets are off.  There are friends.  Scavenging for leftovers.  Happy Hours.  Glasses of wine.  And bread.

Did I mention the bread?

Because bread seems to be a most definite side-effect of my weekend adventures.

Even though I wouldn’t have it any other way, there’s definitely room for improvement.  Giving myself the opportunity to make healthy decisions is key.  For now we’ll just have to put another tally in the Will Report Back-column.

Are you a bread person?  A potato person?

I used to think that I was a potato person, but we make them so often for dinner these days that they no longer hold their spell over me.  It’s rare that a dinner roll makes an appearance at our table.

25 by 25

Idealist-Kat in all of her glory, circa Summer 2009 created a 101 in 1001 list with her boyfriend at the time.

Obviously I didn’t blog about them nearly as much as I could have.  Partially because some of the things on the list were too personal for the internet (for example, money), and partially because some of them (like getting flu shots) were deadly-boring.

In the process of swapping e-mail accounts, I found a copy of the list, that I had saved for myself in the cloud.  It’s kind of ironic that it decided to show its face, considering the fact that since post-honeymoon, I’ve wanted to set goals at a manic pace.

There were some really good ideas in there.  And I would say for being all of 21 years old and fresh off of college graduation, most of them were pretty spot in-terms of what we wanted to accomplish together.

Some goals? Were really frivolous…like making a habit of addressing my mitts + paws or cultivating le jardin.

Other goals?  Were big picture – weight loss, conversion, Marcus’ MBA, marriage, travel.

But they all worked.  We cooked with new ingredients, brought Judaism into our home, realized how daunting the reality of redecorating and renovation can be.

As I perused through the goals that we haven’t completed yet, I kind of had to laugh.  Because some of them?  Were totally valid, but not necessarily a part of the person I want to be or the person that I have become in the past two years.

So, in the Spirit of Progress and all that, I decided that it’s time to say farewell to that little list of ours.

And since I just turned 24, I thought it might be nice to give Past-Kat another shot at predicting her own future.

Enter: 25 by 25

Here goes…

  1. Finish a marathon
  2. Take-up Pilates
  3. Go to the Bakken Museum
  4. Go to the Mill City Museum
  5. Learn how to properly arrange flowers
  6. Learn how to make pie crust from scratch
  7. Take a gun safety class
  8. Do five DIY re-decorating/home improvement projects
  9. Correspond
  10. Create and maintain a proper adult address book
  11. Give to the food shelf monthly
  12. Use our china at least one time each season
  13. Learn how to do a proper smokey eye
  14. Source the following cookbooks: Veganomicon, Time for Dinner, How to Roast a Lamb, From Mom with love…
  15. Take a Friday off.  And bake a challah.  From scratch.
  16. Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies when I want them
  17. Complete the process of legally changing my name
  18. Visit one new restaurant in the Twin Cities every month
  19. Make at least one recipe out of each of the cookbooks we got as a wedding gift: pizza, Williams-Sonoma SALAD, Kosher by Design, Kosher by Design Lightens Up, The Wine Lovers Cookbook, Super juicer, The Fearless Baker, MIXT Salads, Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook
  20. Come up with some sort of skin care habit to replace my completely non-existent routine
  21. Visit Chicago
  22. Buy a piece of jewelry for myself
  23. Get my broken/under-used purses cleaned or repaired
  24. Donate old gowns/dresses to those who could actually use them
  25. Learn how to use my french press

What are some goals you want to accomplish in the next year?